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This article was last updated Oct 01, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Increasing your credit limit can help boost your credit score and give you more buying power, but it can also lead to trouble if you tend to overspend. If you’ve been a responsible customer who pays on time and keeps your balances in check, the odds of being approved for a credit limit increase are good.
We’ll walk you through preparation, making the request and what to do if you get a denial.
- Preparing to request a credit limit increase
- How to ask for a credit limit increase with:
- What to do if you’re denied a higher credit limit
- Where to find credit cards with high credit limits
- FAQs about requesting a higher credit limit
There are many reasons to want an increase, said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at CompareCards.com. For example, “if you’re fairly new to credit or are rebuilding crummy credit, you probably started with a low credit limit and want some extra spending power,” he said.
Preparing to request a credit limit increase
Before requesting a higher credit limit, ask yourself what you intend to do with it.
“If you’re simply going to see the extra limit as more debt you can rack up, you probably shouldn’t ask for it,” Schulz said.
However, if you have your finances well in hand and need a higher credit limit to make larger purchases, or you want to bump up the limit on a starter credit card, that’s a good reason to ask for more credit.
Here are a few factors that can set you up for success when requesting a higher credit limit:
- You use the card regularly, pay on time every month and haven’t maxed it out.
- You’ve been a long-time, responsible customer of the credit card company.
- You recently got a pay raise or accepted a new position with a higher salary.
The first two are key to a successful request, while the third is helpful but not required.
On the flip side, these factors can result in a thumbs down to your request:
- You’ve paid late or missed payments.
- You’re maxed out on any of your credit cards.
- There are too many hard pulls on your credit report.
- You’ve recently applied for too many credit cards.
- The issuer doesn’t consider your income high enough.
- Your account has been opened less than a year.
After ensuring your finances and credit reports are in good enough shape to ask for more credit, here’s how to request a credit limit increase with several of the major credit card issuers.
How to get a credit limit increase
Request a credit limit increase with American Express
With American Express, you can sign in online, go to “Account Services” and click “Request Credit Limit Increase.” Your account must have been open for at least 60 days beforehand.
Factors that Amex will evaluate after your request include overall debt relative to known financial resources, credit reports and scores, payment history, reported income and usage habits.
Request a credit limit increase with Bank of America
Sign into online banking and go to your credit card account details page. Once you get there, select “credit line increase.” You’ll then be taken to a form where you can input the credit line you’d like to request. As part of the request, you’ll verify personal info such as your address and citizenship, as well as input income information, your occupation and current housing payment.
Request a credit limit increase with Capital One
Capital One asks for your annual income, employment status and amount of mortgage or rent payment. Sometimes, the request is approved immediately. Otherwise it could be between three and 10 days as your request is reviewed. The issuer will mail you a letter with the decision.
Request a credit limit increase with Capital One in either of two ways:
- Call Capital One customer service at 800-955-7070.
- Use the online form to request an increase (you’ll need to log in).
Request a credit limit increase with Chase
If you want to ask for a credit limit increase on a Chase card, you can’t do it at Chase.com. You must call 800-432-3117 and speak with a representative. Chase considers things like gross annual income, monthly housing payments and employment status when it reviews your request.
Chase will ultimately determine the most appropriate line increase amount based on a customer’s income and credit profile, — but you can request a specific credit line increase amount.
Many requests are approved instantly, while some may require a loan underwriter’s review, which can take approximately two days.
If your request is declined, you can ask the issuer to reconsider. This is handled by a group of Chase loan underwriters trained to gather additional information to help with your evaluation.
Request a credit limit increase with Citi
Citi makes it easy to request a credit limit increase through your online account. First click “Services,” then “Credit Card Services,” then “Request a Credit Limit Increase.”
Request a credit limit increase with Discover
When a cardmember requests a credit limit increase, Discover looks at whether or not they have paid their bills on time. The credit card company also looks at your credit utilization rate — the ratio of your outstanding balance to your total credit limit — and your salary and monthly expenses.
To request a higher credit limit with Discover, log in to your account online, click “manage,” then click “credit line increase.” You’ll be taken to a form to input income and housing/rent payment. Unlike some other issuers which allow you to request a credit limit increase of a specific amount, Discover just allows you to submit a general request for an increase.
Request a credit limit increase with Wells Fargo
If you’ve had a Wells Fargo credit card account for at least a year and it’s in good standing, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase. To make a request, you must call customer service at 1-800-642-4720. The issuer will ask for updated income and a decision will be made based on your qualifications.
Wells Fargo typically provides a decision within minutes of processing your request. But if more information is needed or a further review is required, the decision process can take longer.
If rejected, cardholders may ask for reconsideration and provide additional information to Wells Fargo’s credit operations team.
What to do if you’re denied a higher credit limit
If your request for a credit limit increase is denied, take the following steps:
- Keep building positive credit and payment information. Pay your card on time in full every month. Give new accounts time to age. And in another 10 months, consider requesting a credit limit increase again.
- Use it or lose it. Credit card companies want to see you using your credit. You need to do that, but in a responsible way. If possible, spend only what you can pay off every month. When you must carry a balance, keep it as low as possible and pay it off quickly.
- Get payments caught up. Payment history consists of 35% of your FICO Score. If your account is past due, consider setting up autopay with your issuer so you never miss a payment.
- Boost your credit score. The credit bureau Experian rolled out a free online tool called Experian Boost in late 2018. Experian Boost allows users to build credit with payments that wouldn’t normally count toward your credit score, such as your phone bill, utility payments and Netflix subscription. The tool works by linking a bank account and letting Experian search for qualifying payments. Users saw an average increase of 13 points to their FICO Score 8 generated from Experian data, according to the credit bureau.
Where to find credit cards with high credit limits
Issuers determine your credit limit based on a variety of factors, such as your length of history with the issuer, your credit score and your income. However, you may have more of a chance of getting approved for a credit card with a high credit limit when you apply with a credit union.
Below are some credit union credit cards worth considering:
- Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa Credit Card
- Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card
- PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
FAQs about requesting a higher credit limit
What happens if you go over your credit card’s credit limit? Typically, if you try to charge more than your available credit, your issuer will deny the transaction. However, it is possible to opt in for over-the-limit fees, in which case you may be allowed to exceed your credit limit and pay a fee. Such a fee can generally be up to $25 the first time you go over your credit limit and up to $35 for a second time within six months, but cannot be larger than the amount by which you went over your credit limit, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Will getting a credit limit increase affect your credit score? Yes, getting a credit limit increase is likely to help improve your credit score, assuming nothing happens that causes a negative impact. That’s because credit utilization accounts for 30% of your FICO Score, and getting a higher credit limit automatically decreases your utilization if you’re carrying balances on your cards. Note that some issuers initiate a hard inquiry when you apply for a credit limit increase, which hurts your score about 5 to 10 points for about a year.
Does requesting a credit limit increase cause a hard inquiry? This varies from issuer to issuer. Some will initiate a hard inquiry while others will proceed with just a soft inquiry. Their decision to run a hard inquiry may depend on how long you’ve been a customer and what your card usage behavior has been like.
Can you request a credit limit increase with a secured card? Secured credit cards require that you send a security deposit to the issuer in the amount of your credit limit. Some secured cards do indeed allow you to request a higher credit limit, but that may mean you’ll need to increase your deposit. If your secured card offers the ability to upgrade to an unsecured card after demonstrating responsible behavior over a specified period of time, you may get a credit limit increase after your deposit is refunded.
Is there a difference between “credit limit” and “credit line?” The two terms may be used as synonyms at times, such as in Bank of America’s “request a credit line increase” online form. However, a “line of credit” can also refer to a non-credit card financial account. For example, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) works much like a credit card, but it’s secured by the equity you’ve built in your home.